Vaccine passes (as they insist on calling them) came into use in Wales yesterday. If you want to enter a nightclub or a few other specific settings in the country now, you must either prove you’re double jabbed or provide a negative lateral flow test result which is a maximum of 48 hours old. But their introduction has caused controversy, and it’s not just simply because of the original proposals on the table.
Last week, a vote took place in the Welsh Parliament to see whether members would support it. Now, the Welsh Parliament currently operates a half and half system. Half of members are allowed to place their votes in person, and the other half do so remotely. And it’s at this point we centre in on the Member of the Senedd (that’s the Welsh for Parliament, before you ask) for Vale of Clwyd in north Wales – a Tory called Gareth Davies.
At the time of the vote, he was at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, so took advantage of the system which allowed him to place his vote remotely. Only things didn’t work out. Davies put out a statement on Twitter afterwards explaining what happened from his side…
My statement regarding last nights vote on Covid passports. pic.twitter.com/tsJTBi2VhF— Gareth Davies MS (@GarethDaviesVoC) October 6, 2021
Since then, Davies hasn’t said anything more about the subject – he isn’t responding to my emails and the Welsh Conservative Party declined to comment when contacted by this blog yesterday. The vote passed by 28 to 27, and he made clear in advance he would be voting against it. So vaccine passes would have been, at the least, delayed if his vote had been placed. But this lack of transparency over what happened last week simply isn’t good enough.
I’d like to see a timetable detailing exactly what happened and when it happened, Details like who Davies spoke to and what he was advised to do should be released. At what point was he told the vote would take place without him, and how did he respond? And just why did he choose to go to Manchester on a week where the crucial vote was going to take place?
A word of advice, Mr Davies. This refusal to comment any further, especially when his vote could potentially have delayed or even stopped vaccine passes completely, does you no favours. At best, it makes you look like an idiot. At worst, it looks like you’ve been gagged. Start talking, Gareth…